We’re Going ‘Wild’ Over this DIY Baby Tee How-To | Video Tutorial

JUN 13, 2017 updated May 18, 2021

We're going wild over this DIY baby tee and leggings | Spoonflower Blog

Hello, fabric friends! Looking for an adorable and easy project that’s perfect for a weeknight? We love these DIY baby tees–they’re so quick you can knock out a bunch for gifts or outfit your kids in totally custom me-made wardrobes. And, as an added bonus, you can make one baby tee with just a fat quarter of fabric. Ready to get started? Grab your organic cotton knit fat quarter and some supplies and let’s jump right in!

If you’re more of a visual learner, Click here to jump down to the video. featuring Spoonflower ops superstar Tim.


DIY Baby tee materials | Spoonflower Blog
WILD // Monochrome Typography Black and White by littlearrowdesign

Here’s what you’ll need for this project:

Start by placing the pattern pieces on your fabric and aligning along the grain. Grain lines run parallel to the selvage of the fabric and are the strongest threads of a woven fabric. Typically, you’d want your pattern to run along these lines so that it holds up for years to come.

Tracing the pattern pieces for our baby tee | Spoonflower Blog

Trace around the pattern with a fabric pen or pin the pattern in place. If you’re using the same fabric for the neckband, trace this pattern piece. We’re using ribbing, so we’re going to skip this step!

Cutting out the pattern pieces | Spoonflower Blog

Cut your pieces out. You should have 5 pieces, since we’re using ribbing for the neckline, we only have 4 – The front piece, back piece, right sleeve and left sleeve.

Placing right sides together and pinning in place | Spoonflower Blog

Place the front and back pieces right sides together and pin in place.

Sewing body pieces and shoulder seams together | Spoonflower Blog

Stitch the side and shoulder seams together using a ⅝” seam allowance.

Pressing the side seams of the tee open | Spoonflower Blog

Press open your side seams.

Press open your shoulder seams | Spoonflower Blog

Repeat for the shoulder seams. They should look like this. Pressing your seams makes everything lie flat and look more professional. Trust me, this step is important.

Marking and hemming the bottom of your shirt | Spoonflower Blog

Hem the bottom of the shirt by flipping the unfinished edge in twice – about ¼”, and stitching.

Hemming shirt sleeves | Spoonflower Blog

Now, we will do the same steps to hem the sleeves by flipping in ¼” then stitching. Press your seams open (are you detecting a pattern?)

Pinning the cuffs for our baby tee | Spoonflower Blog

Now we’re going to pin the sleeves into the arms to stitch them. Flip the sleeves right side out and find the center, then pin to the shoulder seam, and the body seam. This is a little tricky to see in the picture–refer to the video for a better, more detailed visual.

Sewing the sleeves on our baby tee | Spoonflower Blog

Stitch sleeve into armholes using  1/4” seam. When you’re finished with both sleeves, turn the shirt right side out.

Folding neckband | Spoonflower Blog

Finally, it’s time to add in your neckline! Since we’re using ribbing, this step looks a little different, but it’s the same process. Fold your neckline in half, place right sides together and stitch a ⅝” seam.

Pinning our neckband to the shirt | Spoonflower Blog

To ensure your neckline lays flat (especially important with our ribbed neckband, since it’s stretchy), you must divide it into 4 sections. Do the same with your T-shirt by finding the center of the front, center of the back, and shoulder seams. With your 4 sections, pin the neckband and t-shirt body together.

Stretching the neckband while sewing to keep it flat | Spoonflower Blog

Sew the neckline to the right side of the fabric by starting in the center back and slightly stretching the neckband to fit into the t-shirt. There should a perfect amount of stretch in between each pin.  

Our baby tee is complete! | Spoonflower Blog

And that’s it! You’ve got an adorable custom baby shirt! Complete the handmade baby apparel trifecta with our baby leggings and bib video tutorials!!  

Happy Sewing!

Video tutorial below:

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  • Mariette Forget

    Hi and thanks a million for the tutorial and the video! Since I’m starting to sew garments , they are a great help to me! I also love the fabrics you use at Spoonflower and the pleasure you seem to have working together. Keep up! I’m glad I have discovered your website not long ago. 😎🌸

    • Hi Mariette,
      Starting the journey of making your own garments or apparel for others is such an exciting one! We’re so glad to hear you’ll be able to use this tutorial on your sewing adventure.

  • I really liked this tutorial, but wish it had been mentioned that the smallest size, for newborns, was what was being cut out. I bought a FQ and decided to make one of the larger sizes so it would fit a friend’s soon-to-be newborn when the weather gets warm again in the spring, but then found that the newborn size is the only one that will fit on a FQ of fabric. I would have bought more fabric if this had been mentioned in the blog post or video. Live and learn I guess!

  • Great job! The visuals remind me how easy it is to sew something simple! Being able to complete a project in one sitting I’d great!

  • I thought your tutorial was very helpful. Sometimes it’s hard to understand manufacturer’s instructions. You also showed how simple it is to make a cute t-shirt for new beginners. Thank you!

  • betty edelman

    Please tell Tim a hint about the way he sewed the collar piece. Tell him to sew the collar piece together ( or in a circle) before he folds in half and this way he can avoid that bulky seam. Plus it will look better!

  • Michelle Fontenot

    It was definitely a tutorial for me, as I just got a sewing machine and this is all new to me, thanks!
    M. Fontenot

  • Much easier to sew the side seams of the sleeve and the side seams of the baby tee in one go AFTER you have stitched the top part of the sleeve to the armhole. If you do it the way you have shown in your tutorial, you have a very small circle of sleeve to try and attach to the top. Also there is much less bulk if you open out the neckline ribbing flat to sew the seam and then fold it in half for attaching. This method also hides the seam. Sewing childrens’ wear requires slightly different sewing techniques, due to the small size of the patterns.

  • How sweet! Even with a pattern, visual people (like me!) will find this tutorial helpful. Thanks!

    Happily Creating with Spoonflower

  • I agree with Jean, I was excited thinking I was going to get a tutorial on how to make a T-shirt!
    Very disappointing!

  • I think this was wonderful. Its so helpful to be able to see visually for some of us and he did a really great job. I have been sewing for 40 years and I watched it and now I want to make one. Thanks for this!

  • I was also very confused by this. I got this in a spoonflower email and I was excited to see a tutorial on how to DIY a baby tee but it’s not a DIY, it’s a “Go buy a pattern” and here are some pictures. It’s not helpful or useful.

  • Thanks for the tutorial – you made it look easy! What stitch do you use when sewing on knit fabric to allow for stretch?

  • Wouldn’t it be easier to use this tip? Sewthe sleeves on first without sewing the underarm part and then sewing up the side seams and including the underarms of the sleeves?
    I learned that method decades ago. It would make sewing a smaller garment much easier.

  • Merle France

    Not related to the tutorial.
    If I have a photograph, could I get the image converted to a 12 1/2 x 12 1/2 fabric? If so what are the steps to be taken to achieve this?

    • Hi Merle,
      You can certainly print photographic images with us but some photos can be tricky if they contain gradients or lots of subtle shading. You’ll definitely want to order tests of your images before ordering yardage though to be clear, this is something we encourage everyone to do with any design. You may find a post we put up awhile back on printing photos useful here.

  • Thank you for taking the time to provide such a thorough tutorial for me.
    Love the finished product! So cute!!!

  • Cute and easy! Thanks! You could avoid having the back seam on the ribbing show so much by stitching it before folding and ironing. My mom always told me t-shirts were easy, this really makes it seem so.

  • Um, if I already have the pattern, why exactly do I need a tutorial? I was all excited because I thought I was getting an actual tutorial that would tell me how to make a baby shirt without going out and buying a pattern. Using a pattern and photographing yourself using it, doesn’t a “tutorial” make. This one’s definitely a fail.

    • Hi Jean,
      Thanks so much for your feedback! We find tutorials to be helpful for those who want step-by-step visual instructions. You could certainly trace an existing baby tee instead of tracing a store-bought pattern.

      • Any chance you could add a tutorial on how to trace existing clothes instead of using a pattern? I’d love to know how to do that in general, and would love to try it out with this project. 🙂

        • Hi Maggie,

          You can find a help video tutorial that shows how to trace an existing tank top here. While it’s a different project, it’ll give you an idea of how to trace a baby tee!

  • Peg Morrow

    This is so much simpler to the body before stitching the side seams. Also the rib can be attached at this time.